Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
This month our reviews section is unplugged. We look at security for portable devices, as well as security for wireless systems. These two groups of products pose special challenges in that they communicate over the public airwaves. This means that there are two significant challenges depending on your perspective.

If your perspective is that of the user of a smartphone, you want your data communications to be secure. If your perspective is that of the enterprise, you don't want intruders taking advantage of your wireless infrastructure.

This month we attack the PDA/smartphone problem with a select group of products that offer secured data channels over public networks. These products require security applications at both ends and setting them up is fraught with significant challenges. The challenges have nothing to do with the products, which are universally good. The challenges come from the difficulty in implementing the Microsoft infrastructure required to support the products and the irregularities in the public carriers' networks. These manifest mostly as coverage difficulties.

The wireless security systems we looked at this month seem to have begun to reach maturity. The functionality does not differ greatly from that of last year's crop. However, what we have begun to see is deeper integration with overall enterprise infrastructure.

This tight integration is a key trend in wireless protection. I welcome this because it means that there is convergence in the uniform use of security protocols, centralized security management and centralized notification and logging over both the wired and wireless portions of the enterprise. However, full integration with wired security tools has yet to occur.

Overall, this was a very challenging month in the labs and we would like to acknowledge the help we received from a variety of sources, including some of the vendors who went out of their way to support us on very short notice. You know who you are. We could not have produced this month's batch of reviews without you.

The bottom line for this month is that you, too, will find implementation of some of these technologies to be extremely challenging. Select a vendor with top-notch support. They will provide the help that you surely will need.

— Peter Stephenson, technology editor